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Doll

Beaded Doll (nguana modula)

Southern Sotho People
Lesotho
Beaded Doll (nguana modula)
Early 20th Century or late 19th Century
Wood, glass beads, brass, cloth
Gift of Dr. Robin Poynor
2007.30.5

The earliest accounts of South Sotho dolls claim that they are were carried by childless women, and were used to appeal to the “Spirit of Maternity” who lived in a swamp. In hope that the doll would help her conceive, a woman named it and cared for it until the birth of her first child. The “dolls” are neither child-like nor playthings. They are dressed in a beaded cloak that covers the conical wooden base. The hair is made of beads and seeds, and a brass bead or flat button is attached to the head. The figure’s adornments mimic those of mature adults, most often women, and some are dressed as brides.

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